PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh doctor recommends not taking hydroxychloroquine after Pres. Donald Trump said he is using the drug as protection against the coronavirus.
On Monday, the president announced he has been taking the controversial drug, along with zinc, for nearly two weeks despite FDA warnings not to.
It is a drug Pres. Trump has touted as a potential coronavirus cure. He said he consulted with the White House physician before taking it.
“It’s been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things,” President Trump said. “I take it, frontline workers take it. A lot of doctors take it.”
Dr. Michael Lynch, the medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC, recommends not taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc as preventative measures.
He said there are not enough studies that it works outside of a controlled environment.
“It is not prudent to be taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc. The main reason we say that is there is not good evidence to suggest it prevents or treats coronavirus infection,” Dr. Lynch told KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso.
Dr. Lynch anticipates another spike in questions, requests and exposures after Pres. Trump’s comments.
In March when hydroxychloroquine came up, he saw calls to the poison center double.
“We anticipate we will likely see another spike, hopefully, in questions. I fear we could see a spike in exposures similar to the couple in Arizona, where one of those individuals died from taking fish tank cleaning chloroquine product,” Lynch said.
Dr. Lynch says there are also concerns about a shortage of the drug for people who need it for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The FDA has warned that hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing coronavirus and says it can cause abnormal heart rhythms.
The FDA did authorize its temporary use during the pandemic in certain coronavirus patients in hospitals.
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